A reminder here that I try for no spoilers, but don’t read on if you’re worried I may give something away. I haven’t had any complaints yet, but I kno...moreA reminder here that I try for no spoilers, but don’t read on if you’re worried I may give something away. I haven’t had any complaints yet, but I know I’m the type of reader who wants to know virtually nothing about the storyline of the next book in a series I’m reading. There’s your fair warning.
Sanderson had hundreds of main characters, and hundreds of story arcs, to cover in this one. A close friend and I have discussed how this series would end for years and neither of us could comprehend how Sanderson could put the finishing touches on this one. While there were a couple small areas we complained about after finishing the series, the rest of the story was amazing enough that it didn’t change the way we felt one bit. The Wheel of Time series is, and will continue to be, one of the greatest epic fantasies ever told.
I didn’t think it was possible, but Sanderson kept an unbelievable pace throughout the entire novel. The chapters and sections were shorter than in previous WoT (Wheel of Time) books, but not only did it work well, I believe it was needed in this case. The reader is all over the map at first as we’re brought into the state of mind of all the characters and reminded where we’re headed: Tarmon Gai’don, the final battle, possibly the end of all things.
The final battle isn’t just one battle, but many. Some on a larger scale and some that are small yet lead to larger fights that may or may not be known by the other characters. Matrim, Perrin, Rand, Egwene, Nynaeve, Lan, Tam, and I could go on, all have their part to play, and they’re each significant.
Best Aspects of the Book
Sanderson keeps to the storyline and to Jordan’s vision of an epic story while continuing to focus on the individuals and their actions that brings us to the final climax.
Again, THE PACING! I swear my heart was racing through almost every page of this darn book. Not just the battle scenes, but with every decision the characters made bringing us closer to the end of the world, and the book.
The epic battle scenes. Sorry for using the word “epic” again, but it’s the only word that encompasses the breadth of this story. The tactics, the blood, the soldiers, the individuals; they all play significant roles in the final battle. Another reviewer said something similar, but the way the scenes played out it was as if Sanderson had first hand knowledge of that battle, as if he were there copying down what he saw.
Many may not see this as a positive, but it made the book more realistic in my opinion. Characters are dying all over the place in this one. It makes sense considering it was the final battle. If we’d had this grand battle to only have a few characters die, not only would it not have been as realistic, but the reader wouldn’t be on the edge of their seat wondering when their other favorite characters were going to “wake up from the dream,” as the Aiel would say.
Sanderson completed so many story arcs in one this one book that it was simply amazing. In a recent conversation with the friend I mentioned above, we discussed how Sanderson could have easily written another four or five books in the series with each of those story arcs being a story of their own.
The Negative Aspects
With how much I loved this story, it’s hard for me to say anything negative. However, I try to keep an unbiased tone when I write a review, though that’s pretty much impossible in this situation. While I say some of these things are negative, it’s only my opinion and other readers may disagree.
Where was Thom Merrilin? No, he wasn’t removed from the story, and he played an important role, but I loved his character and I wanted more. With the how big of a part of the story he was throughout, I thought there would be more.
There were some parts that were 100% Sanderson, particular lines especially. He sticks to a Jordanesque style throughout the previous two books he wrote, yet in this one, I felt there were times when the things he wrote were something Jordan probably would have done so differently. Of course, we’ll never know, and I’ve no doubt that Sanderson did the better than any other author could have in his position. My argument against this is that I’m not sure Jordan could have completed this series the way Sanderson did, and that’s saying a lot, because I love Jordan’s writing. Before this book, I wasn’t completely sold that Sanderson could finish the WoT series the way it should have been. Now, I can see that Robert Jordan and his wife picked the perfect author to finish this epic story.
This part goes with one of the positive aspects. I mentioned that Sanderson completed so many story arcs above, but there were some I wish he’d spent more time on. “Wish” is the key word there. We all wish we could read more of our favorite book or series, but that’s just not possible. I won’t mention which one, but there was one point that had been alluded to almost since the first book, and then when we reach the actual moment, it’s over in less than two pages. I can’t complain too much, the story arc was completed, even if not in the way that I had imagined.
The actual ending. I could probably put this in both the positive and the negative. In my mind, it fit perfectly. So why does it go in the negative section? Because, in my mind, there were just enough questions left that the ending read like the final line was a precursor to the next book in the series, which of course we won’t have. I think my brain is still working on what exactly I think about everything.
I give A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson five of five stars, and the series itself, five of five stars. If you’re looking for a true epic fantasy with an epic story line, an epic cast, and now an epic ending, the Wheel of Time is for you.(less)
Of the original seven books in the Dark Tower series, book four, The Wizard and the Glass, was my favorite. This surprised me even at the time I read...moreOf the original seven books in the Dark Tower series, book four, The Wizard and the Glass, was my favorite. This surprised me even at the time I read it because it read like a western rather than a sci-fi fantasy like the rest of the books in the series. I’ve never had much interest in the western book genre.
When I heard TWTK (The Wind Through the Keyhole) brought back young Roland soon after he became a gunslinger, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the Dark Tower Series.
Almost Gave it Four Stars
About halfway through the book, I felt I’d been had, that I was tricked into buying this book I thought involved young Roland. He is involved, but only for ten to fifteen percent of the book at most.
We start with Roland Deschaine as an adult, traveling with Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy. Expected since that’s who Roland had with him at this point in the series. I assumed he’d tell a story about his younger days as a gunslinger, and he did. But this is the part when I became a little upset.
Young Roland goes on to tell a story of his own. We end up three levels deep in this story. The storyteller tells of a storyteller telling a story! It was easy to follow, so that wasn’t an issue, but I bought TWTK to read about young Roland Deschaine, Gunslinger of Gilead.
I’ve been a Stephen King fan for years so I stuck it out and I’m glad I did. The story young Roland tells is in fact, a great story. After I got past my little whine fest, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
There are lessons to be learned, magical elements, a new race of “muties,” and as always, the beam. We learn the story of a young man (eleven years old, I believe) whose father was recently killed by a dragon of some sort. He and his mother fight for survival in a harsh world.
Just when they believe they’ve found their savior, King throws a twist in there to mess everything up. The young man’s journey to save his mother, and himself, take us on a wild adventure filled with magic, terror, and suspense.
Even with my previous complaint, TWTK is one of the better Stephen King novels I’ve read.
I give The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King, book 4.5 in the Dark Tower Series, five out of five stars.
I still wish we’d seen more of young Roland. Who knows? Maybe King will add yet another book to the Dark Tower Series one day.(less)
Many indie author publishing and promotional guides share similar information. At this point in my indie author career, it's all about finding bits of...moreMany indie author publishing and promotional guides share similar information. At this point in my indie author career, it's all about finding bits of information not already in the multitude of other books written on the subject.
Aggie Villanueva's book didn't disappoint. She doesn't tell you what categories you should list your book under, but she explains how to find better categories, and how to change them step-by-step. She explains how Amazon uses your ranking within these categories to promote your work.
I've since implemented many of her ideas and noticed a tremendous difference. My debut novel, The Fall of Billy Hitchings, spent three weeks on the bestseller list in July, and has currently been there the last three days. Since making changes she suggested, my book has also been on the Amazon UK bestseller list for almost two months!
Understand that this book won't tell you how to put your book on the bestseller list, only how to make it easier using Amazon's built in promotional system with categories.
There were details I didn't expect to get from her book revolving around little known rules Amazon has about sharing reviews on other sites. She discusses these rules in detail and shares links that explain those rules more clearly.
I agree with a few other Amazon reviews on some of the negative aspects, but I can also argue those negatives were needed.
One complaint is that she uses this book to promote others she has written. This is a common practice, and some author's go overboard in this respect, but I didn't feel that as much in this case. Though there was quite a bit of self-promotion, Aggie used much of it to show the reader how her techniques improved those individual books, and to show that she was a bestseller herself.
I read another complaint about the usage of too many links. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Most of the links take the reader back to her blog and bonus information in regards to her book. This bothered me in that I felt if there was information to be found, why not place it in the book itself?
Here's the problem. Aggie Villanueva implements a growing trend with informational books in that it's a living thing. Whenever she finds new or pertinent information, she adds it to her website. She could have entered the new information in her book, but then those readers who bought her book before the implemented changes wouldn't have access to the latest information.
Definitely worth the money, but it would have been nice if the newer information was instilled within the book rather than on her site.(less)
Ever seen the movie Ocean's Eleven? Or any of the sequels for that matter? You'll get a similar feeling when you begin Nobility. The reader is introdu...moreEver seen the movie Ocean's Eleven? Or any of the sequels for that matter? You'll get a similar feeling when you begin Nobility. The reader is introduced to a gang of pickpockets preparing for their next take. Each member brings unique capabilities to the team and it's these capabilities, along with their physical attributes, that gives them their nicknames based on Roman mythology.
MacRath keeps the pacing tight throughout most of the book. Each chapter is composed of short sections told from a different perspective, both the good guys and the bad, though that line isn't clearly drawn until later.
I have two complaints, and one relates to the above paragraph. Yes, the pacing was fast and the short sections improved that pacing, but it didn't fit in my opinion.
Let me explain. The depth in MacRath's writing is impressive. The myriad of ideas and thoughts running through his character's heads is realistic and he does well putting this on paper. My issue is many of these thoughts seem out of place in the midst of the quick pacing. As if we go from a lyrical masterpiece to an action sequence and back, with little transition.
How could this have been done different? I'm not sure, but this brings me to the other complaint. This book felt like two stories wrapped into one. We have the pickpockets, and we have Ray, another main character. While both were needed with this plot, either of those ideas on its own could have made up its own story, especially with the depth in MacRath's writing.
My thoughts on the two complaints.
MacRath could have used his depth of thought to create two completely separate novellas, or novels. One with the gang of pickpockets, fast pace, their ups and downs, their big takes, etc. And one with Ray and his personal life and issues. Maybe slower paced, but with the great attention to inner feelings and emotion that MacRath writes so well.
The one aspect I truly admire in MacRath is his wordplay. I wish I could explain this better. The way he puts things together, the way the words can have multiple meanings, it's quite amazing. His book is almost lyrical at times. I've heard of writers who could do this, but I've never actually read one... until now.
As with all book reviews, these are my opinions. If you check out the other awesome reviews, other readers may not feel the same.
What I know is that Reb MacRath is a talented writer and I look forward to more of his work. His writing style is unique and will no doubt draw readers based on that simple fact. I said this multiple times earlier, but he writes with such depth and emotion I can't help but wonder what he'll bring to the writing world in the future.(less)
I can now say I completely understand why Cussler's books are listed under Action and Adventure on Amazon. It took me all of three days to fly through...moreI can now say I completely understand why Cussler's books are listed under Action and Adventure on Amazon. It took me all of three days to fly through this one. Action-packed fits this book well.
This is the first book I’ve read by Clive Cussler. After this first taste, I know when I want a heart-pounding action and adventure I can go back to him and expect more of the same.
Even as filled with action as it was, the part I enjoyed the most was the characterization. Each of his characters was unique and easy to distinguish from one another. An easy example of this is the main character, Juan Cabrillo. He has a physical handicap, but I don’t want to say more because it comes as a bit of a surprise in the book. It doesn’t make him extraordinary, but definitely unique.
Many of the characters come from different cultures as well. Cussler’s knowledge of these cultures and their idiosyncrasies is amazing.
Speaking of Cussler’s knowledge, this guy does his research. The depth of detail, particularly pertaining to weaponry and other military items, was great. If I had one complaint it would be that, on occasion, he spent too much time on these militaristic details. While interesting to some, I found it bogged down the action a little. Not a lot, but with the fast pacing in the rest of the book, it felt almost out of place.
The plot? Awesome! I had a few ideas as to what was going on, but Cussler throws in enough twists and turns to keep the reader flipping through the pages. Though the mystery was there, the action sequences the characters live through to get to the answer were great.
There are a few parts not as realistic as others. Again, I won’t give any details, but it may be something some readers will not enjoy. Though this is fiction, much of the technology was ahead of its time. It wasn’t too far out for me, but it was enough that I should mention it in this review. While these technological advances were probably too advanced for modern day, they weren’t so much so that a rich government couldn’t have one or two of these projects secretly studied.
While not my favorite book, I have no complaints about this action-packed thriller. It certainly lived up to its genre.(less)
Wow! Absolutely loved it. This is the first work I’ve read by Sheppard and I can’t wait for more.
Right away, the reader feels a sense of depth to thi...moreWow! Absolutely loved it. This is the first work I’ve read by Sheppard and I can’t wait for more.
Right away, the reader feels a sense of depth to this story. The gritty post-apocalyptic world comes to life before your eyes through vivid and complex descriptions of the settings and character types.
The detail is great. I won’t lie; at first I wondered whether The Marlowe Transmissions would hold my attention (I’m ADHDish in nature). I didn’t wonder for long. Each piece of the description added more to the story and made me feel more for Dez (the main character).
On to Dez. A badass for sure, but not unrealistic. Sheppard allows us to see into the MC’s inner workings. He has needs, wants, doubts, everything a plausible and in-depth character needs.
Romance? Maybe. Can you imagine what that would be like in the horrific aftermath of a world war? You’ll have to read to find out!
Ooh! Almost forgot to mention the unique sci-fi/paranormal/magical aspect to the story, especially the Scavengers. We learn some about it in the prologue and the rest is brought to us through the storyline itself. I wish I could go into more here, but I don’t want to ruin one of the best parts. I guess Sheppard did his job. I waited eagerly for each scrap of information thrown out about the technology.
Nobody is safe, nothing is as it seems. This post-apocalyptic world has plenty to offer in the way of danger and deceit.
Check out The Marlowe Transmissions: Scavenger’s War, particularly if you’re into the post-apoc genre. You won’t be disappointed.(less)
Told in first person point of view, Sharp’s character made a few comments that drew me in from the beginning. As an avid mystery fan, figuring out the...moreTold in first person point of view, Sharp’s character made a few comments that drew me in from the beginning. As an avid mystery fan, figuring out the plot is first on my list. My mind swirled with possibilities.
Sharp paints a vivid picture and displays a deep understanding of his character’s psychology. The reader sees directly into the mind of the main character and feels what he feels.
The understanding of how the teenage outsider’s mind works was simply amazing. I hate to admit this, but it brought me right back to high school! The hormones, the pimply faces, the insecurities. We have it all in Not Even There.
The best aspect of this short story was the friendship between the main character, Roger, and his best friend. It’s one of those situations when it’s written so clearly you find yourself wondering if the author lived through that exact moment. Especially when we meet the “hot girl” every high school boy can tell you about. The one you have a crush on the rest of your life. The one you can’t seem to speak to without stuttering.
The paranormal twist threw me for a loop. Call me crazy, but I have a tendency to skip reading the book descriptions. A pleasant surprise.
The writing in this short story is simple, clean, and to the point, which works well from the first person perspective of a teenager.
Five stars was an easy choice. I look forward to longer works from J. Scott Sharp!(less)
In Her Name: Confederation has more of a science fiction feel than the first in the series. It is similar to the first book in that we follow Reza Gar...moreIn Her Name: Confederation has more of a science fiction feel than the first in the series. It is similar to the first book in that we follow Reza Gard over a period of years. I'm not sure if I'm more into the story, or if it's because Hicks gained confidence as he went on, but the writing seemed more in the scene in the second book. Probably a combination of both confidence and my enjoyment.
Gard appears in the story shortly after it begins and immediately takes control of the show. After spending years with the Kreelans, his personality, his spirit, and even his physiology is changed. We are shown new tricks that Gard learned as a Desh-Ka Priest. Hicks does a great job of releasing these tidbits throughout, all the way until the end.
Although it is the second in a series, I love that In Her Name: Confederation has a great build up and climax. In another series I'm reading, it feels like each book is only meant as a precursor to the next. I don't get that with Hicks at all. Each of the first two books can stand on its own.
There were two things keeping In Her Name: Confederation from a five, but I'm a bit of a stickler so I'm not surprised.
The second book didn't seem as clean to me as In Her Name: Empire, or Season of the Harvest, a thriller also written by Hicks. It wasn't bad, the grammar was fine, but there were areas throughout that could have been crisper.
The second reason is that I'm not 100% sold on how much I love the characters. Like them yes, love, not yet. This tells you how much I love the plot and every other element in the series since I'm still at four out of five stars. There is no doubt however, that as the story progresses I will only enjoy it even more. Part of my enjoying a specific author is becoming used to their writing style.
In Her Name: Confederation is a great second book in the series and anybody looking for a science fiction or fantasy series would do well to get this one on their bookshelf. (less)
I've read plenty of how-to Indie author books. Some great, some not so much. Jeff stuffs his with such valuable information; I'm not sure where to sta...moreI've read plenty of how-to Indie author books. Some great, some not so much. Jeff stuffs his with such valuable information; I'm not sure where to start. Even with all this information, the part that really hit me was the motivation and encouragement. His upbeat personality shines through in his writing. He's motivational without sounding preachy, and gives the aspiring author a realistic view of the current Indie field.
To give you an idea of what The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe entails, here are just a few subjects covered.
1. Life as an author. 2. When, where, and how to promote. 3. An in-depth view of the KDP Select program offered by Amazon. 4. What it takes to be successful as an Indie author. 5. Why your book might not be selling and what you can do about it.
Jeff Bennington gives the reader a refreshing and accurate view of the Indie field in The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe.
Thanks for the ARC, Jeff. Truly appreciated. (less)
When readers hear the name Stephen King, I’m sure many think of his hits that were turned into movies. Those like Carrie, Pet Cemetery, or Cujo. If yo...moreWhen readers hear the name Stephen King, I’m sure many think of his hits that were turned into movies. Those like Carrie, Pet Cemetery, or Cujo. If you’ve seen these movies or read the books, you know King has the ability to write gruesome stories, yet keep the story interesting enough that the horror doesn’t take away from the plot.
Still, many people don’t enjoy horror, including me. At least these days. I used to LOVE King’s horror stories, but I’ve grown out of them.
That’s why 11/22/63 surprised me. I know King’s books aren’t all horror, but this one was different for me. It was easy to tell King was the one who wrote it. It had his humor, his attention to character detail and intricacies, but the feel was different.
I wasn’t even alive when President Kennedy was assassinated, yet the idea behind this book was intriguing because of the stories my parents told. They couldn’t tell much, but they knew exactly where they were when they heard the president was killed. They knew the feeling, the horror, and the sadness. I couldn’t wait to hear what ideas King could create during this time period.
King sucks you in from the very first chapter. It helped that I had an idea of what the book was about, but it wouldn’t have mattered. You’re given tension, a great plot idea, and flawed characters right from the beginning.
The characters? Amazing as always. Each character has their quirks, their small details that make them real whether it's the way they say a specific word, the way they wear their hat, or the way they smell.
If you haven’t heard yet, 11/22/63 is a HUGE book. The hardcover edition is listed at 849 pages. Not a big deal if you’re an epic fantasy fan such as myself, but if you’re not used to books this long, you may get bogged down.
Getting bogged down wasn’t possible for me throughout most of the story because the intensity and interest level were kept on over-drive. If there was one area where a reader may get bogged down it would be during a part when the main character just observes. It was interesting, but I personally could have used a little more action, or had it broken up a little more. That was around page 500 or so, and went on for around 50 pages.
However, if I was alive during that time period, or if I was a history buff, the details alone probably would have kept me interested. I also wonder if this was King’s idea of the calm before the storm. There wasn’t necessarily a calm, but once this part was over, I flew through the rest of the book.
Other than that one portion, I have no complaints. It was one of my top three favorites by Stephen King, maybe even my favorite.
If you enjoy typical Stephen King, you should try it. The same goes if you’re into historical fiction, alternate histories, time travel stories, the Kennedy assassination, or just an awesome book.
Sucked in from the first paragraph is the only way to describe Origin. The first twenty percent of the book is as good as any thriller I’ve read. I co...moreSucked in from the first paragraph is the only way to describe Origin. The first twenty percent of the book is as good as any thriller I’ve read. I couldn’t wait to read more.
There wasn’t a clear cut-off point, but things slowed down. Not necessarily in a bad way, we just learn more about the plot and possible blooming romances. A few chapters later, it picked back up again and never stopped.
You know those movies when every time something bad happens, something worse happens? If you don’t enjoy that type of movie, don’t pick up this book. I kept thinking, “Oh, man. This really sucks. Maybe they’ll do this or this.” Nope. Konrath kicks you in the stomach with the next twist.
No doubt, Origin fits in the horror genre. I’m not a huge fan of horror, but there was enough suspense and storyline to keep me enthralled. I definitely wouldn’t suggest this one for the squeamish.
I do have one complaint, and it’s my preference, nothing to do with how the book was written. I wish Konrath had delved deeper into the demon’s history, maybe more about the religious ramifications. I’m just nosy and wanted to see how Konrath would throw things together.
Divergent has been compared to The Hunger Games for a few reasons: they're both young adult novels and written in first-person present point of view....moreDivergent has been compared to The Hunger Games for a few reasons: they're both young adult novels and written in first-person present point of view. Beyond that, the dystopian feel is similar. Aspects of their society aren't perfect, but both of the main characters deal well with what they're given.
Roth seems to spend more time on the inner workings of her main character than we see in Hunger Games. The reader is in her head and understands what she's going through on a personal level.
We're introduced to the faction system (mentioned in the book description) right away and why it's such a big deal. After this informative beginning, we're tossed into a whirlwind. Action sequence after action sequence takes place, we enjoy a slight pause while we learn what's going on in the main character's head, and then we head right into another action sequence.
The story is simply told yet the dystopian society Roth creates is more than adequate. The one thing that caught my eye every few chapters was the usage of the word "gun." It's used throughout the book, but I think only once or twice are we ever told what kind of gun it is. Honestly, it didn't matter. The rest of the book keeps you so in the story that it rarely crosses your mind to wonder what type of gun the characters are using.
If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, I highly suggest you check out Divergent by Veronica Roth. While the similarities are there, the story lines are different enough that you'll be in for another nail-biting read.